Members of Wagga's Aboriginal community came together to honour their elders as NAIDOC celebrations kicked off this week.
The ceremonies began with a smoking ceremony on Monday morning, followed by a march of well over 100 people down Baylis Street, before a flag-raising ceremony wrapped up the proceedings at the Wagga Civic Centre.
Wagga community elder Uncle Hewitt Whyman welcomed the "fantastic" turnout and spoke of the importance of this year's theme, "for our elders."
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"It was great to see most elders from the community participating with their children and grandchildren, celebrating what NAIDOC week represents, the achievement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in their communities.
"This includes the sporting achievements, their interactions with the broader community, taking part in reconciliation and sorry days."
Uncle Hewitt harked back to the "proud history" dating back 58,000 years.
"We have the oldest culture in the world. It's something we're very proud of and something we aim to keep alive," he said.
NAIDOC, which stands for National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee, has been observed as a weekly celebration since 1975, although its origins date back to before the 1920s.
"Since that day, people have participated in events right around the country, in every city and every community," Uncle Hewitt said.
He said the event is now being embraced by the broader community and believes having a voice to parliament will "enhance the history of NAIDOC and the history of Australia."
"This week the Yes campaign [for the Australian Indigenous voice referendum] began around Australia... and we're asking the community to support NAIDOC Week and get behind the voice," he said.
"We ask that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people be included in the voice to parliament."
Mawang Gaway NAIDOC committee secretary Bernard Higgins said this year's NAIDOC Week focus on community elders was particularly key.
"A lot of us receive so much support and guidance from our elders," Mr Higgins said.
"For example, I receive support from them for not only my professional career, but also in day to day life."
Mr Higgins said with the upcoming referendum also makes this year special.
"A lot of our elders have fought their entire lives trying to get a treaty, a voice and trying to close the gap.
"Younger people like myself come along [after them] and continue that work."
In just a week's time, the Wagga Civic Theatre will host a free information session on the voice to parliament, featuring experts in constitutional law.
Uncle Hewitt is encouraging members of the public to attend and learn more about the referendum.
"People have approached in the street unsure about the voice. This is a question and answer session and hopefully they can get an answer from the panelists," he said.
The two-hour session will run from 6pm on Monday July 10 with bookings compulsory via the Wagga Civic Theatre website.
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